New Blood Test Can Detect Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

By Martin & Jones on October 18, 2010

In USA TODAY, it was announced that the Army has developed a reliable new test to detect the presence of traumatic brain injury, an immense help to its troops who receive concussive injuries from bomb blasts and blount force injuries to the head. The test has significant applications in the legal setting where brain injury is often suspected but difficult and expensive to prove.

In the past proving traumatic brain injury where the effects are real but subtle usually takes time to recognize changes and expensive and less reliable tests such as neuropsychological evaluations, and in rare circumstances, brain MRIs to detect.

As reported on USNAVYSEALS.COM, ‘The blood test, according to Army Col. Dallas Hack, looks for unique proteins that find their way into the blood stream from damaged brain cells. The test was able to accurately detect mild traumatic brain injury in 34 patients involved in the research, which was overseen by Col. Hack. The Army scientists say that this new test can detect proteins in a patient’s simple blood sample that are specific to brain injury. That is, when the brain is injured it releases these proteins into the blood stream.”

Similar tests are available to detect heart attacks since heart muscles release a specific protein, troponin, when it has experienced an ischemic event.

Traumatic brain injuries can occur not only in serious accidents but also in less serious accidents such as in a workplace setting, motor vehicle crashes, slip and falls, assaults, medical malpractice, poisonings and overdoses, where the brain may be injured by direct or indirect force or loss of adequate blood supply, or as a result of toxic substances. The problem is convincing your physician to order the test as soon as possible once you suspect a possible brain injury. The symptoms are often subtle such as headache or dizziness. Be sure to ask your doctor for the test, it may prove invaluable in directing treatment and proving the extent of your injuries.